According to the most recent reports, December yielded a 5% volume increase, with an estimated 56,000 reverse mortgage home loans closed by the top cities. This represents a 6.6% increase year over year from 2014 to 2015, one of the healthiest gains this market has seen in years.
At the forefront was Pacific/Hawaii (14,380) and Rocky Mountain (2,919) regions, which saw 22.9% and 19.4% in growth over the past year. Hawaii was no surprise, as it had some of the strongest growth of any area in the map for 2015. However, at the very top of the list was Reno, Nevada, which experienced an explosive growth of 37%, which was the greatest increase of all cities that RMI tracked.
While Los Angeles still got the most HECM endorsements, it was just fourth in its region. Top producers included Fresno (552 loans) with a 27% increase from 2014, and Santa Ana, which gained 26% year over year.
Orlando saw endorsements increase by 35.1%, totaling 900 units. The Southeast/Caribbean regions saw 11,491 units move, representing an 8.6% increase. By comparison, other Florida cities grew exponentially as well, including: Tampa (32.2%), Jacksonville, Fla. (25.1%) and Miami (21.3%).
The Rocky Mountain region was propelled by Denver, with an increase of 34%, topping out at 1,495 loans. Meanwhile, the Northwest/Alaska region saw an 18.1% increase and Portland finished up 22.1% from last year with 868 units.
This measurable growth is in contrast to what some experts predicted would hamper the industry at large, namely the new reverse mortgage laws that were enacted. These laws mandate that homeowners be able to provide the necessary income for home upkeep, insurance and taxes, helping to reduce foreclosures and evictions. In spite of the worry that they would decrease output, the actually increased output, helping more homeowners get the cash they need to secure their retirement.
In fact, the new reverse mortgage rules help put older Americans’ minds at ease, knowing that they are offered more protections with these types of home loans.